Sen. Dodd’s Community Energy Resilience Bill Advances
SACRAMENTO – Legislation from Sen. Bill Dodd, D-Napa, to help California reduce its reliance on carbon-emitting generators during disaster-driven power outages by assisting the planning of micro-grids, prioritizing low-income communities, has cleared a key committee hurdle.
“All Californians must have access to reliable electricity, regardless of their income level or economic status,” Sen. Dodd said. “Power outages in recent years have cost California billions, and the emissions from backup generators pose a huge threat to our environment. My legislation will prioritize development of alternate power sources so everyone can keep their lights on.”
Senate Bill 99, the Community Energy Resilience Act, calls for the creation of a technical assistance and grant program administered by the California Energy Commission to help local governments develop clean energy resilience plans, leveraging the substantial related investments that have already been made by the CEC.
SB 99 enables local governments to collaborate with utilities in planning community-scale energy infrastructure such as solar panels and battery storage so that communities -- not distant big utilities -- are deciding what facilities remain energized during a crisis. Plans are a prerequisite for attracting private and public investments in community energy resilience projects -- particularly important as federal lawmakers contemplate a new trillion-dollar infrastructure package.
The bill was approved late Monday in the Senate Energy, Utilities and Communications Committee. The bills head next to the Senate Appropriations Committee. It comes as the state heads into another fire season, which is likely to mean more power shutoffs.
Sen. Dodd’s proposal is backed by a coalition of environmental, community and industry advocates including the California State Association of Counties.
“One of the climate-change impacts we’re experiencing in California – dramatically worsened wildfires – has created enormous problems for California’s electricity supply,” said Ellie Cohen, CEO of The Climate Center. “SB 99 prioritizes energy resilience for vulnerable communities and charts a course toward a cleaner, more resilient energy future in California.”
Senator Bill Dodd represents the 3rd Senate District, which includes all or portions of Napa, Solano, Yolo, Sonoma, Contra Costa, and Sacramento counties. You can learn more about the district and Senator Dodd at www.sen.ca.gov/dodd.